Tag Archives: faith

My Favorite Pericope: James 1:5-8

Today, let us summarize a pericope from James 1:5-8.

Did I catch your attention with the word “pericope”? It is not a common word used outside of theological studies, but I will share my new vocabulary with you since I recently learned its meaning. Oxford Lexico defines a pericope as “an extract from a text, especially a passage from the Bible.” ¹

So, let’s move on!


But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

We all encounter trials! That is why we need wisdom. We must ask God for wisdom. Why? Because He gives it to us liberally and without reproach. Reproach means “disapproval or disappointment.”


In that night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask what I shall give you?”

And Solomon said to God, “You have dealt with my father David with great lovingkindness, and have made me king in his place. Now, O Lord God, Your promise to my father David is fulfilled, for You have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth.

Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people, for who can rule this great people of Yours?”

God said to Solomon, “Because you had this in mind, and did not ask for riches, wealth or honor, or the life of those who hate you, nor have you even asked for long life, but you have asked for yourself wisdom and knowledge that you may rule My people over whom I have made you king,

wisdom and knowledge have been granted to you. And I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings who were before you has possessed nor those who will come after you. (2 Chron 1:7-12 NASB).


But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.

If we do not believe God will give His wisdom to us, James compares us to a wave of the sea tossed by the wind. We need to be solid and firm, not insipid about our faith.


For that person ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

James calls the one who does not believe he will receive wisdom from God a “double-minded man.” Some scholars call him a “double-souled man.” James also says that such a person should not expect anything from the Lord. What a tragedy when God wants to give us the best life possible by emulating Himself!


In 1 Kings 3:16-28 (CEV), Solomon, a man of wisdom, had to make a difficult decision.

Two women came to him, and the first woman told him that she lived alone in the same house with another woman. This woman had a baby boy, and three days later, the second woman also had a baby boy. While they were sleeping, the second lady rolled over her baby, and he died. Then, she got up and took the first woman’s son out of her bed and put the dead baby next to her.

As you can imagine, the first woman saw the dead baby in the morning and knew it was not her son. In front of King Solomon, they continued arguing back and forth.

The king said, “Someone bring me a sword.” When a sword was brought to Solomon, he ordered that the living baby be cut in half, so each woman could have a part of the baby.

The real mother screamed, “Your Majesty, I love him very much, but give him to her. Just do not kill him.” The second woman shouted, “Go ahead and cut him in half. Then neither of us will have the baby.”

With all his godly wisdom, Solomon said, “Don’t kill the baby.” Pointing to the first woman, he declared, “She is his real mother. Give the baby to her.” And all Israel was amazed when they heard how Solomon wisely made his decision.

This kind of wisdom is possible for us as well. I experienced God’s wisdom when I asked Him for it early in my spiritual walk.


Back in the 1970s I was an elementary-grade teacher in the Fort Worth, Texas school system. Each spring, teachers selected by the district to be retained had to decide whether to sign a new contract, confirm their agreement to stay for the upcoming school year, or not sign and seek opportunities elsewhere.

Before me was the question of whether to stay in Fort Worth, or move to Houston. It was my first encounter with genuinely seeking God’s wisdom.

On April 1, 1977, our principal walked into my classroom while I was teaching and, in front of everyone, handed me my contract for the upcoming year. “I need it back by 4:00 p.m. today,” he said.

I was struck with fear of being forced to make such a consequential decision so quickly! I gave my students some busy work and consulted my Bible. I prayed, then searched the Scripture for the Lord’s direction.

I eventually came upon Ecclesiastes 11:5:

Just as you do not know the path of the wind, and how bones are formed in the womb of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes everything.

While it does not make sense to anyone else but me, that verse might as well have said, “Patti, move to Houston.” That very day, I told my principal I was moving and never looked back.

I can say that following James 1:5 in asking for God’s wisdom, He answers. It might not be the way one might envision or in the timeline preferred, but God loves us so much and has so much compassion on us that He always answers at just the right time.


  1. Ask for wisdom—not human understanding, but divine wisdom from God’s Holy Spirit.
  2. Make it a habit to cleanse yourself from all known sins.
  3. Trust in God’s word to guide you as you seek His wisdom, then
  4. Trust that God’s wisdom will change your life.

God makes wisdom attainable to us. My charge is for you to follow the steps above and always recall this Godly pericope from James 1:5-8.


My dear Lord, when I am fearful to ask You for help, understanding, or wisdom, guide me by Your Holy Spirit, to You—to trust You and have faith. I want to live my life fully attuned to Your will and ways, but sometimes I fail. Please give me the courage to ask for wisdom in faith to be stable in all my ways. Amen.


  1. Wisdom and Understanding—King David said, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His Commandments; His praise endures forever!” (Psalm 111:10).
  2. Faith—Jesus said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it shall move; and nothing shall be impossible to” (Matthew 17:20b).
  3. Stability—Paul said, “For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.” (Colossians 2:5).
  4. Freely Given–Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. (2 Timothy 2:7)

God Bless,

¹”Pericope.” Dictionary. Accessed December 12th, 2021. https://www.lexico.com/definition/pericope.

Edited by E. Johnson.

Linked Bible verses come from the New American Standard Bible.

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Hannah: A Biblical Character of Worship

Hannah’s Dedication

In Chapters 1 and 2 of 1 Samuel, a touching story expresses Hannah’s complete dedication toward God. Elkanah was the husband of two women—Peninnah and Hannah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah was barren. Every year when the two women accompanied their husbands to the temple to worship and sacrifice, Hannah would weep because Peninnah would provoke her due to her having no children. Being oppressed in spirit one year, Hannah prayed and wept bitterly and made a vow that if the Lord gave her a son, she would let Him have the child for service. The priest Eli heard her prayer. He mocked her and accused her of being intoxicated. However, when he saw that she was afflicted and not drunk, he said, “Go in peace; and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of Him” (1 Sam. 1:17). In due time, Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son which she and Elkanah named Samuel. Hannah said, “For this boy, I prayed, and the LORD has given me my petition which I asked of Him. So I have also dedicated him to the LORD; as long as he lives, he is dedicated to the LORD” (1 Sam. 1:27-28). After weaning him, they brought the boy to Eli to serve in the house of the Lord.

Hannah’s Distress

In this Bible story, we see that Hannah was distressed. She prayed, cried out to the LORD, made a vow, listened to what Eli told her, trusted God, conceived, had a son, and remembered her vow to give her first child to the Lord for service by bringing him to Eli. Hannah started by worshiping the LORD in the temple, but we see it more profoundly after she dedicated Samuel to serve.

In her beautiful Song of Thanksgiving and Worship, we read:

My heart exults in the LORD,

My horn is exalted in the LORD,

My mouth speaks boldly against my enemies,

Because I rejoice in Thy salvation.

There is no one holy like the LORD,

Indeed, there is no one besides Thee,

Nor is there any rock like our God (1 Sam. 2:1-2).

Hannah’s Worship

Because worship is unique to every individual, Hannah’s worship experience was not like Abraham, Jacob, Isaiah, or Mary of Bethany. However, we see Hannah using elements from each of them in her worship of the LORD, as stated in Real Worship: Playground, Battleground, or Holy Ground by Warren Wiersbe. For example, she conversed with God (like Abraham), she made a vow (like Jacob), she heard Eli speak (like Isaiah listened to the angels), and she gave her best to the LORD—Samuel (like Mary of Bethany gave perfume). ¹ Furthermore, she trusted in the promise of God when Eli said. “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of Him” (1 Sam. 1:17).

There are multiple reasons we know she worshiped God. First, she approached the LORD with an honest and sincere heart. Second, she had a focused purpose in communicating her desire to God. Third, she waited for God with a humble attitude; we see that by Hannah’s initial deep cries in the house of God that worship filled her heart even before her prayer of thanksgiving.  Fourth, Hannah centered her life on God and His power by pouring her entire being to the LORD. Hannah’s ultimate blessing included her transformation from a barren woman to a child-bearing mother. After she conceived and weaned Samuel, her worship prayer included:

-An exalted heart,

-A mouth speaking boldly against enemies,

-A rejoicing in her salvation, and

-An acknowledgment that there is no one besides God.

Our Experiences

In today’s context, Christians can worship as Hannah did. Many times, when people experience trauma and distress, they give up on the LORD. They are not patient enough to wait on Him to work. Being impatient can diminish confidence in the Holy Spirit leading one’s life. However, every believer who yearns to empty himself of sin and live for Christ can worship like Hannah. We must continually train our church congregants to know what to do at all stages of their lives. We might not be going to the temple to worship, but we can go to church. We might not be experiencing barrenness, but we are experiencing something. We might not get our prayers answered as Hannah did, but we can trust that God knows the big picture of our lives, and He knows what He is doing.


O, dear heavenly Father, may my life seek Your will. May I feel at home with You enough to share both my distress and hearts’ desires? I seek Your wisdom. I give my life to You. Let me do all that is honorable in Your sight now and for the rest of my life. In Your name—the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Bible Verses:

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth (Matthew 6:24)

Come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker (Psalm 95:6)

For from Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen (Romans 11:36).

God Bless,


Edited by E. Johnson

¹Wiersbe, Warren. Real Worship: Playground, Battleground, or Holy Ground? 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2004. p. 82.

Bible verses come from The New American Standard Bible.

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“Your Mission, Should You Decide to Accept It . . .”



Any child of the 1960s will recognize those words, intoned from a clandestinely placed tape recorder each week as Jim Phelps calmly accepted one dangerous and logistically challenging assignment after another on the ironically titled TV spy series “Mission: Impossible”.

Phelps always accepted the mission, and never failed in his efforts!

We as Christians are given the Great Commission by Jesus Christ, a “mission” He urges us to accept. Like on the TV show we have great latitude in determining where, when and how we undertake this objective, as well as who will help with bringing it about.

Our success rate will probably be less than 100%, at least in our estimation, but the important thing is that we, at some point, in some way, “accept the mission”. – Ed.

Off to Belize City, Belize

In 1989, I boarded a plane with my husband and off we went from Houston, Texas on our first mission trip to Belize City, Belize, Central America. Our sleeping arrangements involved single bunk beds on a cement floor in the dank basement of a missionary couple’s home. Roaches flew by as I tried to fall asleep, and I recall the exact words I said to my husband: “How in the world could you take me to this God-forsaken place?” Of course, as I look back, it was mostly the cockroaches that invoked this question, which was more a declaration of my mental state at the time.

As I think about my comment, I realize that missions and evangelism are all about bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to “God-forsaken places” like this one but with my first experience, I could not get beyond the “cockroach mentality” and my disdain for the creatures. Fortunately, in time, I was blessed by many of the lovely people I met on my subsequent trips to Belize. Praise God!

Bible Verse

Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV) implores us to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

While some are called to give up money and their livelihood to follow the Great Commission, others will be called to a different mission, purpose, or place. What is important is to seek out God’s individual plan for our lives, and to obey His direction at every stage.

From a United States Citizen’s Perspective

As a resident of the United States, it is sometimes difficult to even imagine the poverty some people live in daily in other parts of the world. It is hard to conceive of worshipping in a run-down shack without air conditioning or sanitation. A.W. Tozer, a self-taught theologian, and a fearless preacher said, “Evangelical Christianity is now tragically below the New Testament standard. Worldliness is an accepted fact of our way of life. Our religious mood is social instead of spiritual.” ¹ We are now seeing churches sporting cafés, movie theaters, gymnasiums, and even local fashion shows.

For those reading this who are from an “advanced” country, have you ever considered that the reason we have been blessed with such relative abundance may be so that we can give generously to the cause of evangelism, rather than to our pleasures and wants? While many are trusting God in total dependency in living out their calling, so many others (even believers) have little regard for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and have become so “ME-centered” that the Lord hardly even seems present in their lives other than an occasional church service or a cursory glance at the Bible.

Satan’s Perspective

It is important to remember that Satan does not want us to be involved in any missionary or evangelical endeavor. Period! His desire is for us to either stay neutral on the subject or to become more centered in our own lives so that they revolve around us, and what makes us happy, rather than around the lives of others.

Sometimes those in mission work get so discouraged seeing so few showing an interest in their Christian beliefs or evangelism. This is another way our enemy seeks to degrade work done for the Kingdom, by attacking not only the missionary (through discouragement) but the supporter as well (through apathy, sloth and other distracters).

God’s Purpose

Regardless, God’s purposes will always be fulfilled. Even today, we can see the Holy Spirit operating around the world in many different nations. Many are coming to accept Christ where the Gospel has never been preached before. Salvations are occurring despite witchcraft, demonic influences, and secular rites and rituals. People are accepting Jesus Christ despite the fear of imprisonment, the fear of beheading, and the fear of being ostracized.

It is happening because of the prayers of believers. Maybe you are praying for a missionary, a specific country, a mission trip, or donating to help others participate in the Great Commission. If so, you are part of a wonderful opportunity by allowing the Holy Spirit to use you in His work.

As we pray for souls to be saved, let us remember the profound words of South African writer, teacher, and Christian pastor Andrew Murray. In Pray for the World, Murray is quoted saying, “Beware in your prayers, above everything else, of limiting God, not only by unbelief but by fancying that you know what He can do. Expect unexpected things, above all that we ask or think.” ² God does work in mysterious ways!

Advancing the Cause of Jesus Christ

Below are some ideas on how we can advance the cause of Jesus Christ. They are listed in alphabetical order, but all are worthy of equal consideration to the same degree.

  1. Adopt and pray for a country. Ask the Lord for the Holy Spirit to seek out the lost and lead them to Him­­;
  2. Be obedient to whatever or wherever the Lord leads;
  3. Befriend a person(s) from a different culture or country;
  4. Have a “missions fair” at your church.
  5. Participate in a mission trip – local or foreign;
  6. Provide mission-centered training in your church or organization;
  7. Research your country. Learn as much as you can about the culture, land, religion, livelihood, population, ethnic groups, economy, literacy, languages, education, and more. [This is a nice family activity to do.]
  8. Seek out opportunities for involvement.

What Happened Because We “Accepted The Mission”

Because we accepted the Great Commission and journeyed to Belize, we were able to be witnesses for Jesus Christ to the Belizean people. My husband John, our three children (ages 8, 6 and 4 at the time) and I spent our time in the Central American nation becoming lifelong friends with our hosts, Pastor Tony of Punta Gorda Baptist Church and his family, as well as other members of the local community. Fortunately, we still communicate with Tony’s adult children to this day.

John preached his first sermon there. I helped design the layout for a bookstore. Most importantly, John worked with the Southern Baptist Mission Board and trained Tony in the process of him becoming a fully-ordained pastor.

We ministered to Tony and his family well beyond that trip to Belize. When Tony developed kidney disease due to his uncontrollable diabetes, we let him stay at our home in St. Louis. Later, John arranged for him to get into a program at a downtown Houston hospital. At the time, dialysis was unavailable in Punta Gorda, and as a result, he had to travel regularly the 167 miles to Belize City for treatment, so we brought Tony here to the United States for more focused medical care.

Remember what I said earlier about the reason for having abundance is to share it with others? Recall that Luke tells us, “everyone to whom much was given, of [Him] much will be required. (Luke 12:48 ESV). We gave Tony and his family cars. We paid for their youngest daughter’s high school education. Some people might call my telling you this “braggy”, but I simply say it’s the kind of thing our Lord expects of us.

In sustaining the pastor and his family, we, in fact, supported the spreading of the Word by removing obstacles and distractions which would otherwise have hindered its free flow. That, above all other blessings we have been able to provide, is the most enduring.

Sadly, diabetes ended up taking Tony’s life, but his desire and work to bring the Word of God to the people of Belize lives on.

What I Learned on Our Mission Trips to Belize

Going to Belize was my first mission trip. It was “eye-opening—except when I closed my eyes to avoid those huge cockroaches at night. I learned I could do without my eyeliner and my eyelet bedspread.

But what I couldn’t avoid was the eyesore of poverty that confronted me every day. After urinating in a dirt hole in the ground, I was thankful for an outside toilet. After watching seven-and eight-year-old boys steal in order to purchase food, I was thankful we had enough to feed our own children. After seeing the native Belizeans shop at different grocery stores based on their political parties, I was thankful for our relatively stable public life in this country.

Secure in Their Faith

However, what amazed me the most was that the native Christians I met were solid and secure in their faith. They possessed a faith that I had never seen before. Their walk with the Lord was so evident by the fruits in their life, i.e. love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). I saw that they HAD TO depend on their relationship with God to sustain them for food, water, shelter, and more.

The churches we visited had pastors that cared that people accepted the gift of salvation. They preached with a firm voice as if it might be their last time to preach—and knowing the violence that surrounded them (at least in Belize City), any preaching experience very well could have been their last!

In all, my husband John has made ten trips to Belize. I myself have been along on three of those journeys. We keep “accepting the mission”, because, as long as there are unsaved people walking the Earth, it never ends…


Evil is abounding right now in every corner of the world. Let’s increase our faith, shape our Christian ministries, and pray sincerely for the Holy Spirit to be a mighty force in reaching the world for Christ. And let’s remind ourselves that God desires salvation for ALL people – even those in “God-forsaken” countries!

Bible Verses:

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. (John 3:16-17)

But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:5)

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. (Titus 2:11-14)


Lord Jesus. Thank you for my salvation through Jesus Christ. Lord, please soften my heart so I am more sensitive to the eternal and spiritual needs of others. Let me pray for the Holy Spirit to gently guide me to the purposes and callings You have already planned for me. Provide opportunities for me to see through Your eyes and give me the courage and willingness to respond. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Central Houston Inspirational Writers Alive! Associate Member; BibleGateway Blogger, Member; SBC, Church Member

Edited by E. Johnson.

Works Cited

¹ Tozer, A.W. “The Swamps of Low-Grade Christianity.” Global Christian Center. Web. Accessed 7 Oct 2019. https://globalchristiancenter.com/devotions/morning-muse/33922-the-swamps-of-low-grade-christianity.

² Murray, Andrew. “Andrew Murray Quote about #Everything, #Beware, #Prayer, Unbelief.” All Christian Quotes. Web. Accessed 7 Oct 2019. https://www.allchristianquotes.org/quotes/Andrew_Murray/141/

New American Standard Bible. BibleGateway.com. Web. 16 Oct 2019.

All Bible verses are from the New American Standard Bible unless otherwise noted.

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Patti Greene is a fun-loving (but serious) coffee drinking wife, mom, and Grammi! She serves as a Bible teacher and Sunday School helper in her home church where her husband also teaches in Katy, Texas. She writes and speaks with the sole purpose of leading and maturing others in Jesus Christ and His everlasting love. To receive blogs from GreenePastures.org delivered straight to your email, please email her at Patti@GreenePastures.org with your email address, and you will be added to the email listing. You will need to confirm your decision to be added to the blog by email. You can also catch up with her on her Twitter feed at (@PattiGreene13) or her Facebook Patti Greene-Pastures page at (https://www.facebook.com/author.greene).

Books by Patti Greene [Order today for Christmas]

Christian Caregiving

Christian Caregiving: Practical Advice for a Happy Ending

Devotional Prayer Journals

Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer

Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer

Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer

@PattiGreene13 #PattiGreene13 #bgbg2

Hope and Encouragement From the Word – GUEST BLOGGER Shelley Jarl

Have you ever put thought into how much you appreciate the Word of God? Or, have you ever prayed to thank God for His Word or for the numerous benefits we receive from it? The writer of Psalm 119 certainly did.

With its 176 verses, Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the entire Bible. Many people attribute this Psalm to David although the author is not revealed.

The writer had an incredible appreciation for the Word of God. Throughout the Psalm, he uses many words to describe the Word of God, including; word, law, statutes, precepts, testimony, ordinances, commandments and judgments. All in all, the word of God is mentioned in at least 171 of the 176 verses.

It is evident by a few verses in this Psalm that the writer was dealing with some trials in his life.

  • Verses 86+87 “They persecute me wrongfully, Help me. They almost made an end of me on the earth.”
  • Verse 143 “Trouble and anguish have overtaken me.”
  • Verse 150 “They draw near who follow after wickedness”
  • Verse 157 “Many are my persecutors and my enemies.”

Although we find him in the midst of trials, he continues to live a life of faith as he leans on the Word for comfort, guidance, hope and more. He reveals trial and trust, seamlessly, one after another as though for him they were part of the same package. In verses 87-88 he says, “They almost made an end of me on earth (talking about his enemies), but I did not forsake Your precepts. Revive me according to Your lovingkindness . . . ”

Trials are inevitable; they are part of life. We often have no control over whether we will face certain trials. We do have control over how we respond to them. Sometimes we can get so caught up in a situation that our relationship with the Lord suffers. This writer didn’t let that happen.

How do you respond to trials? There is much we can learn about journeying through the storms of life by reading Psalm 119. I encourage you to read it on your own and underline any sections which stand out to you. Read it slow enough to enjoy the beauty of the language the writer uses to express his love and appreciate for God and His word. Notice the depth of understanding he has for the importance of the Word in his life, it’s truly remarkable.

While I read the Psalm, I took note of the things the writer did in his own life while dealing with trials. There are things he did to find hope in the Word of God and we can apply these examples to our own difficult situations to find hope ourselves.

Here are just a few of the things I found the writer did. There are many more examples, but I’ve only listed some of them.

Take Time to Praise God Even in the Midst of Trials

When we praise God we are taking the focus off our situation and placing it on the Lord. This serves to glorify God and can also serve as encouragement to others as they see a trust in God during the storms of life.

  • Verse 7 “I will praise you with uprightness of heart.”
  • Verse 48 “My hands also I will lift up to Your commandments.”
  • Verse 54 “Your statutes have been my songs.”
  • Verse 111 “For they are the rejoicing of my heart.”
  • Verse 162 “I rejoice at Your word.”
  • Verse 171 “My lips shall utter praise.”

Do Not Forsake the Practice of Praying and Meditating on the Word

During trials, it is very easy to skip your scripture reading or prayer time. Don’t let this happen. Reading the Word brings comfort and peace, and it uplifts you and can encourage you.

  • Verse 15 “I will meditate on Your Word”
  • Verse 23 “But Your servant meditates on Your statutes.”
  • Verse 27 “So shall I meditate on Your wonderful works.”
  • Verse78 “But I will meditate on Your precepts.”
  • Verse 148 “My eyes are awake through the night watches, that I may meditate on Your word.”

Take Delight in and Hope on the Word

How exactly do we take delight in the Word? For me personally, this happens when I study a passage and apply it to my life. Or I delight in the Word, by having scripture posted around my home so I see it regularly and it encourages me on a daily basis.

  • Verse 70 “But I delight in Your law.”
  • Verse 74 “Because I have hoped in Your word.”
  • Verse 81 “But I hope in Your word.”
  • Verse 113 “But I love Your law.”

Memorize Scripture

Have scripture memorized so you can recall it when you most need it.

  • Verse 11 “Your word I have hidden in my heart.”

Continue to Share your Faith and God’s Word

Talk to others about God’s work in your life. Share scripture with others to encourage or bless them. This, in turn, will bless and encourage you as God’s Word saturates your life.

  • Verse 13 “With my lips I have declared all the judgments of Your mouth.”
  • Verse 172 “My tongue shall speak of Your word.”

Be Careful Not to Backslide. Make Corrections When You Find Yourself Backsliding

Each and every person has certain things they struggle with. If you find yourself swaying off course in your walk with the Lord make corrections immediately.

  • Verse 59 “I thought about my ways and turned my feet to Your testimonies.”
  • Verse 69 “But I will keep Your precepts with my whole heart.”
  • Verse 101 “I have restrained my feet from every evil way.”
  • Verse 157 “Yet, I do not turn from Your testimonies.”

Shelley Jarl, author of “The Humidity Makes My Hair Frizz and It’s Really Starting to Stink in Here”, is a mom, Christian, entrepreneur, business owner, author, and lover of all things creative. She strives every day to embrace the abundant life God has given her. As a self-proclaimed warrior, she has put on the armor of God numerous times to overcome tremendous adversity in her life. She can be found living down the end of a ridiculously long driveway, in the mountains of New Hampshire. As proof of her insanity, she owns Weimaraners. But, most importantly, she is a sinner saved by a loving Savior, Jesus.

Shelley can be found online at www.becauseliada.com where she encourages people to find their God-given adventure, whatever that looks like for them and live out the abundant life God intended. She can also be found at www.faithfulbloggers.com where she helps Christians connect and get equipped to impact the world with their faith story.

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The Humidity Makes My Hair Frizz and It’s Really Starting to Stink In Here

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Thank you, Shelley, for sharing these words of wisdom with us.

God Bless.


Bible Verses

But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” (Luke 11:28)

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world. (Romans 1:8)

Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. (James 1:12)


Dear Lord,

Please give me a heart that is pleasing to you. Give me faith, Give me a desire to study Your word. Give me hope. Thank you for being who you are. I love You. In Jesus’ Name.


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The Geometry of Spiritual Maturity

Spiritual maturity and spiritual growth manifest in a Christ-follower’s heart from the moment a person accepts God’s gift of salvation through faith in Christ until they meet Jesus face to face.

Are you becoming more spiritually mature? Does delight break out within your soul when witnessing to a maturing Christian? Does sadness surface when spotting a stagnant Christ-follower choosing the wrong path?

Believers come in all ranks, from those just saved to those who are glorifying God right up until their final days.

In the Army, the rank one holds decides their pay grade and how much responsibility he is given. While a corporal may be responsible for a small group of soldiers, a major might command 10,000—15,000 soldiers. In all branches of the military, one can fast-track their career by taking advantage of added training and educational opportunities.

This same pattern arises once a person follows Christ as his or her Savior. Upon salvation, Christ-followers are automatically enrolled in a fictitious class titled “Spiritual Maturity.” Individuals decide how far they choose to progress with this never-ending course. Barely passing the class or excelling to a high degree of competency is a personal choice.

Line Segments, Lines, Rays and Angles

In Home School Math, the lesson Lines, Rays and Angles gives four geometric definitions. 1

Spiritual Maturity and Geometry
Spiritual Maturity and Geometry

1.  A line segment occurs when two points are connected with a straight line.

2. A line has no beginning point or end point. It continues indefinitely in both directions.

3. A ray starts out at a point and continues off to infinity. We can show that by drawing an arrow at one end of the ray.

4. An angle is made up of two rays that have the same beginning point.

But, how does that relate to spiritual maturity?

Line Segment: When a person is born physically, they embark upon their life journey. Their journey starts when they are physically born and ends when they physically die. Their lifeline is from Point A to Point B.

Line: Many religions live on a line; their beliefs imagine there is no true beginning and when they physically die they are either morphed into an animal/insect or are physically born again, i.e. phrases like “in my next life I’m coming back as a cat, a dragon, a New York Rockette, an anesthesiologist, etc.” may be heard.

Ray: When a person accepts Christ, their spiritual journey begins, and they are automatically enrolled in the Spiritual Maturity course. This class begins at one’s spiritual birth and continues forever.

Angle: vertex point X – represents Christ for both types of believers. Christ-followers have a choice in which ray they want to follow: the easy laid-back Christian life or a more progressive path. It’s interesting to note that the angled center (called a vertex) represents Christ for both types of believers.

One ray strives for a life filled with the fruits of the Spirit, growing in love for Jesus Christ and with the anticipation of living an eternal life in Heaven with the Christ-follower’s first love: Jesus. This person’s love for Jesus becomes stronger and stronger as he anticipates reaching Heaven one day and spending an eternity with Him.

The other ray represents a choice to either stagnate or lean towards a sinful lifestyle—always fighting the flesh. Unfortunately, some of these souls may believe they are Christ-followers but have never received the gift of grace God has offered them.

So, in “mathematically” defining a progressive spiritually-maturing believer, they are rays striving to start at the vertex, where the two paths diverge and follow the Godly ray.

As a student in the Spiritual Maturity class, your spiritual timeline may include peaks and valleys. However, to be moving in the right direction, the ray should be resting on an inclined line always progressing to a higher level until it reaches Jesus in Heaven.

When I look at my own spiritual ray, I have many peaks and valleys. The peaks are times of extended growth, heightened dependence on the Holy Spirit, glorious worship and Biblical promises all coming to life. The valleys include breakups, fears, disappointments, spiritual attacks, confusion, and pain.

But, when my mind has stayed on Christ during the valleys, God always comes to my rescue in time. Sometimes I can look back and see how God orchestrated that valley to increase the slope of my incline to be closer to Him. Even when I cannot humanly see any good coming out of a trial or temptation, Biblical principles have taught me to trust Him even if He never shows me His purpose until Glory.

Missing Out: On a Level Plane

I don’t understand why some believers are content to sit back, believing they’ve done all they need to do for God. My inability to understand it is because when I accepted Christ, I hit the road running. I’m not saying I didn’t fall back, down, and twirl around some, but fortunately, I was able to pick myself up quickly. It was like two steps forward, one step back; okay, to be honest, maybe sometimes there were four or five steps backward!

But over the years in my Christian walk, I have seen church members who attend church every Sunday, sing in the choir, take their children to every church activity available, and still remain stunted in their spiritual growth. I ask myself why all the time!

I hate to use the word lazy and Christian in the same sentence, but I wonder if it isn’t laziness on their behalf.

They sit in church Sunday after Sunday just to feel good about going to the House of God. Or maybe they are there to make a work connection. Some don’t seem to grasp the principles they hear at church or Bible study—rarely applying them to their lives. I don’t understand how, in a 168-hour week, they can’t find time to open God’s Word. How can they disregard daily (or even weekly) prayer? Why do they only pray in a crisis? Why do they ask others to pray for them over and over when they don’t take the time to pray for themselves?

I frequently wonder what people miss when they are not desirous of God’s presence. Lookers-on may be identified by many “ranks” of spiritual maturity they hold using Army terminology—a golf course private, a pew-sitting specialist, a Bible teaching corporal, or a “fanatical” Major.

Sometimes I am awed by their lack of personal commitment. But at the same time, I am so cognizant that one day even I might fit into one of these categories. I could easily become a “they.” With all sincerity, humility, and prayer, I pray that never happens, but nobody in this life has reached the point of perfection and that includes me, your parents and even your pastor. All who have accepted Christ occasionally experience cold hearts, judgmentalism, prayerlessness, or selfishness in themselves.

Making people feel bad by approaching this subject is not my style, but I do believe addressing these facts openly and honestly encourage a dormant disciple to become a vibrant follower on the way to a deep spiritual maturity.

Tips to Mature in Your Faith

  • Be Still Before God.

By praying, reading, meditating on His Word, and being quiet before God, we are filling ourselves with His presence. We are making time and room for God to speak to us, share His wisdom with us, and grow each of us into the person He intended for us to become from the start.

  • Allow God to Work Through Your Sufferings and Trials.

Too many believers avoid God because they blame God for their ordeals. Many nominal believers don’t want to undergo suffering; they believe by avoiding God that troubles will evade them. Their understanding is faulty because sufferings prepare us to be used by Him and our trials can draw us into a deeper relationship with our heavenly Father. Through our pain and affliction, we are directed to His principles, which allow us to see glimpses or outright directions for His purposes.

  • Pray for a Deeper Faith.

By praying for a deeper walk, one learns more about the One who cares for us more than anyone else in this world. It’s easy to sit back and listen to the undertakings others have achieved for Christ when you aren’t interested in asking God what you can do for Him. Many don’t want to serve Christ; they believe they already have His promise for eternal life and that is enough. But O dear soul, if you only knew what you are missing!

Two Character Traits to “Hold at Bay” while Deepening Your Faith

  1. We must not think more highly of ourselves than we ought. We must remember that it is God who decides the measure of faith each person possesses at each interval of spiritual growth. Let us pray for humility by praying fervently, not boasting, realizing how weak we are, count others as more significant than ourselves, and help others succeed.
  2. Do not be afraid to allow God to fill you with His presence to the point where others will notice a change in you.

Ten Powerful Characteristics of Spiritual Maturity

According to Frank Powell, the author of “10 [sic] Marks of a Mature Christian”, there are indicators we can use to gauge our maturity as a Christian:

  1. The highs and lows of life don’t impact your relationship with God.
  2. You find value in the “daily-ness” and trivial seasons of life.
  3. You are at peace with situations beyond your control.
  4. You don’t allow disciplines to take a back seat.
  5. You maintain a childlike sense of wonder and awe.
  6. You do not compare yourself to others.
  7. You listen to others who have a different viewpoint … with the goal of growing and not correcting.
  8. Your heart breaks for the poor and marginalized.
  9. You understand Christianity doesn’t have an on/off switch.
  10. You have a sustainable rhythm to your life.

Adding a #11, Powell also mentions that spiritual maturity is not about age, achievements or appearances. ²

Benefits Available to a Follower Fully Committed to Christ

As a fully committed Christ-follower, we have [the]:

  1. Ability to become so closely aligned with God that He becomes our entire reason for living
  2. Ability to develop the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control
  3. Access to God, His guidance, and His Holy Spirit through prayer and Bible study
  4. Capability to see and feel His presence in both the mundane and the exciting times
  5. Capability to know His will
  6. Joy seeing God move in the lives of our friends and family
  7. Power to effectively communicate with Him (in total honesty)
  8. Protection from the “evil one” when we “put on” the full armor of God: Belt of Truth, Breastplate of Righteousness, Shoes of the Gospel of Peace, Shield of Faith, Helmet of Salvation, and Sword of the Spirit (Read Ephesians 6:10-24)
  9. And, the list could go on and on.

At the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea, Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson won the 100-meter sprint finals to great fanfare (and no small amount of boasting!) defeating what was easily the most competitive field in the sports’ Olympic history. Unfortunately, he was stripped of his gold medal one day later when drug tests showed he had used performance-enhancing steroids. Five years later, Johnson was caught doping a second time and banned automatically from competition for life by the International Amateur Athletic Association.

While we don’t like hearing stories like this, it is a reminder to us to consistently model Jesus Christ and to follow His principles because, one day at the end of our lives, we will be accountable for the path (the ray) we have chosen in this life.

Reaping Spiritual Gold

When we enter God’s presence on that day, let us hear as the faithful servants heard in The Parable of the Bags of Gold. (Matthew 25:14-30)

In that parable, a master entrusts several of his servants with various amounts of gold. The servants who received five talents and two talents each used the gold they were given to reap commensurate returns, but the servant who received only one talent hid it in the ground.

When the master returned, he was quite angry with the servant who buried his talent. “You wicked, lazy servant.”

By contrast, he said to those who generated a return on the master’s gold, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

The master then took the one talent from the servant who buried his and gave it to the one who had received five gold pieces.

Like the servants in the parable, and using the geometric analogy we developed earlier, we find ourselves continually at an “angle vertex” decision point at every moment of our lives.


Let us do as the servant did who delighted his master, and “invest” the time, talents and treasures we have been given in this life to reap “spiritual gold” in return. This can include coming alongside others in kindness and fellowship, praying deeply for others without recognition, or even leading others to salvation through Jesus Christ!

Our Master in Heaven would be quite pleased.

God Bless and please share this message as an encouragement to others.


Christian Women’s Speaker, Member Inspirational Writers Alive #IWA; Bible Gateway Blogger Grid Member #bgbg2

Bible Verses:

Therefore, leaving the teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God. (Hebrews 6:1)

Brethren do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature. (1 Corinthians 14:20)

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ. (Philippians 1:9-10)


Lord Jesus, I know so many people who are inactive in their faith. My prayer is for them to have a change of heart and a desire to serve and love You with his or her entire heart. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Works Cited

1“Lines, Rays, and Angles.” Home School Math. Web 23 May 2018.


²Powell, Frank. 10 Marks of a Mature Christian. Web 20 May 2018.


Edited by E. Johnson

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Valentine’s Day: Interpreting 1 Corinthians 13

Valentine’s Day is synonymous with February 14th. It’s the date that most people associate with LOVE, HEARTS, CANDY, and FLOWERS!

We know it’s close to Valentine’s Day because we see the gifts in the stores dressed up on lovely lace displays. We know it’s close to Valentine’s Day because Hallmark and other stores are stocked with lovely red cards abounding with hearts and kisses. We know it’s close to Valentine’s Day because our online pop-ups tell us with advertisements to purchase that special gift for that special person. And we know it’s close to Valentine’s Day because there is a reminder on our print and online calendars that it’s VALENTINE’S DAY!

Love has different meanings to different people. To some love means respect. To others love means acceptance. To others, love means a gushy sentimental type of lust.

The apostle Paul wrote a lovely poetic segment in 1 Corinthians about love. When you read the following verses, you can see that love is involved with actions—how we treat our family—how we treat our church family—how we treat our enemies, and more.

In the New American Standard Version (1 Corinthians 13), Paul urges us to view love in the following ways. (New American Standard Version. 1 Corinthians 13:4-13)

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails; but if there are gifts of [prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now, we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

I decided to just take a few of the LOVE qualities and explain/define them using Greek the common language used in the New Testament. I pray the one the Holy Spirit wants you to hang on to this week is below.

Love [is . . .]

  1. Patient— makrothumeō (mak-roth-en)

To be long-spirited; to be long-suffering, to have long patience; to be patient; to patiently endure; slow to anger.

  1. Does not brag— perpereuomai (per-per-yoό-om-ahee)

Does not boast; to be lifted up with pride; to become haughty; to think too highly [of].

  1. Does not take into account a wrong suffered— logizomai (log-id’-zom-ahee)

To take an inventory; to conclude; to judge; to suppose; to hold.

  1. Does not rejoice in unrighteousness— chairό (khah’ee-ro)
[Do not] be glad; do not be happy; especially on meeting or parting; rejoices as in salutation or parting.

  1. Believes all things— pisteuō (pist-yoo’)

To have faith (in); upon or with respect to; a person or thing; to entrust one’s spiritual well-being to Christ.

  1. Love never fails— agape (ag-ah-pay)

Love; affection or benevolence; speaking goodwill towards others, “the love of God” or “of Christ;” being full of love; the love of our neighbor; the brotherly affection which the Lord commands and inspires.

  1. Faith—pistis (pis’tis)

Reliance on Christ for salvation; the gospel.

  1. Hope—elpis (elpece’)

To anticipate usually with pleasure; hope of salvation through Christ; earnest expectation.

  1. Love—agape (ag-ah-pay)

Love; affection or benevolence; speaking goodwill towards others, “the love of God” or “of Christ;” being full of love; the love of our neighbor; the brotherly affection which the Lord commands and inspires.

  1. Abide—menō (men’o)

To stay; to abide; to dwell.

On this Valentine’s Day, commit to becoming a loving person following the qualities Paul set out to share with the followers of Jesus.

God loves us. Let’s love others.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

God Bless.

If you missed my last blog titled, “Feeling Trapped: How to Relieve Anxiety, Depression, and Hopelessness, click here to read it. (There’s a cute photo of a cat for my cat-loving followers.)


The Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible. Ed. Spiros Zodhiates. Chattanooga: AMG, 2008. Print.

All verses are from the NASB unless noted.

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Books by Patti Greene

Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Caregiving Part 5: Spirituality

Caregiving. My husband and I moved in with my mother when my father passed away a year and a half ago. Mom is a fragile 91-year-old. Her health is not good, but her mind is phenomenal. Today I drove Mom and her friend to their church for a special service. We stayed afterward for the end-of-the-year Women’s Club luncheon. The women chatted, laughed, and enjoyed fellowship with their friends. You might ask why I chauffer my mother around like this; I do it because I love my mother and I want her to continue to enjoy the church she has attended for the past 50 years. It is there she fellowships with her friends and shares a spiritual connection with others and the Lord.

As a caregiver, our concerns usually center around our parents’ emotional, physical and social life. One aspect often lacking in caregiving is an interest in the elderly’s spiritual life. Whether you are a part-time caregiver or a full-time caregiver, giving yourself to the spiritual needs concerning your parents is truly a privilege.

For those who take their spirituality seriously, a sense of purpose and fulfillment undergirds their lives. Despite this fact, some do not understand or take seriously this component of another’s life. Understanding spirituality is complicated because there are so many scenarios and so many definitions of spirituality at play. They involve answering questions such as:

  • Are you a part-time caregiver or a full-time caregiver?
  • Are your parents living in the same town or city as you are?
  • Are you a strong believer, a ‘sort of’ religious person, or an uninterested individual?
  • Have your parents lived a dedicated life for Christ and the church? Have they attended church sporadically? Or, have they rarely explored any ‘religious’ life?

Once you mix and match all these different dynamics together, it’s time to discern and pray about your part in your parents’ spiritual life. Regardless of your parents’ spiritual background, caring for them is one of the most compassionate undertakings you or your siblings can pursue. Included in regular caregiving responsibilities, being a part of allowing your parents to pursue or continue their interests in God, church, and spiritual growth is an important part of caregiving.

But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8)

Your Parents

Many seniors who have attended church all their lives develop a deeper desire for the things of God when they get older; but many do not. Some glide into old age making their spirituality more of an inward feat and not a community feat. In Spirituality and Aging, Sociology Professor Emeritus at Marquette University David O. Moberg says, “Many scientists who study spirituality and aging have concluded that spirituality increases with age. However, it is also important to acknowledge that other prominent researchers disagree with this premise.” ¹ Gerontologists are starting to see how the spiritual life regarding their patients yields an unexplainable peace and calmness as they face the future. As a result, their physical well-being is often affected in a positive way. They see their patients with faith as possessing strength and tranquility regarding their future.

Driving Forces Why Seniors Depend on God

  • Many seniors are concerned about their death and the afterlife.
  • Their faith provides strength as they face illnesses, loss of friends, and loneliness.
  • They have more time to pray and read their Bible.
  • Concern over a reduced income and the ability to meet their needs.
  • A renewed or deepening dependence and guidance by the Holy Spirit.

At a time when seniors tackle new challenges, many undergo losing their support systems. This should be a huge consideration in churches as “baby boomers” are starting to fit into the senior adult category.

Driving Forces Why Seniors Abandon their Faith and Church

  • Lack of activities for seniors—Feeling of alienation may occur when more emphasis is given to youth ministries, young adult ministries, or any ministries besides senior adult ministries.
  • Miss traditions—They feel left out, unwanted, unneeded in the congregation. Seniors enjoy the familiarity of things past, i.e. hymns, Sunday dinners, fellowship luncheons.
  • Difficulty adjusting to change—The new programs and facilities are too much for them. Adjusting to change is especially hard for the aging population.
  • Hearing loss—They can’t hear the preacher or Sunday school teacher.
  • Stimulating services (music, yelling, confusion)—The British Alzheimer’s Society discusses noise triggers by saying, “[People with Alzheimer’s] feel bewildered or anxious because there is too much noise, too many people around, or a change in a familiar routine.”
  • Other disabilities—There may not be handicapped parking or wheelchair accommodations at the church. They may be unable to get to church due to disability or inability to drive themselves. Or maybe, there is too much walking to get to their classes or sanctuary easily.

Caregiving and You

As a family caregiver member, it is imperative for you to be cognizant of your parents’ needs. This includes their spiritual needs.

Practical Ways You Can Help

  • If you live in the same town or city as your parents, bring them to church and church functions.
  • If you live out-of-town, contact their church organization, friends, or other family members to set up transportation.
  • If your parents are in a facility, investigate what kind of spiritual activities that are available.
  • Make their living environment familiar and comfortable, i.e. put their favorite cross in their room, be sure their Bible is easily accessible.
  • Provide notecards, stamps, and addresses so they can write and minister to their friends.
  • Get their hearing checked by an audiologist.
  • Get their eyesight checked by an optometrist or an ophthalmologist.
  • Purchase a large-print Bible for them if needed.
  • And, if you or family members live in the same city or town, be sure to visit them!

Whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:11)

Questions Caregivers Must Ask

  • What hindrances are my parents facing?
  • My parents used to attend church. Why don’t they go now?
  • How do I approach my unbelieving parents about Jesus Christ?

These are just a few of the many questions caregivers might have. You may want to spend some time thinking, meditating, and praying for what questions need to be asked and how you can be a part of the solution.

How to Pray: Ten Tips for a Better Prayer Life

Keep Yourself in Top Spiritual Shape

Being connected to God’s divine source can help you manage better as your caregiving duties progress. Continuing or starting to seek God’s presence and strength in your life will assist you as you care for and minister to your loved ones. Understanding you are not perfect alleviates a mindset of inadequacy. Remind yourself of all your parents have done for you. If they haven’t done much, it is time to ask God how He wants you to treat them and care for them regardless of the past. God is available to help you as you support your parents. By being their caregiver, you can be assured, God has given you a divine assignment—one that you won’t regret.

Salvation and Eternal Life

On our most recent visit to my mother’s oncologist, we were discussing mom’s diagnosis and future prognosis. In his matter-of-fact intonation, he said, “Mrs. —————, life is a terminal illness!” While we don’t want to think about life like this, it is true. We all will die and face an eternal future.

As we live our earthly life, let us be ever mindful about our eternal destination. Gaining an understanding of our future existence is significant in understanding life-and-death anxieties and angsts.

Both caregivers and parents and all humanity will die. CRU (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) discusses four laws in the booklet “Have You Heard of the Four Spiritual Laws?” ²

Four Spiritual Laws

Law 1: God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.

John 3:16

Law 2: Man is sinful and separated from God. Therefore, he cannot know and experience God’s love and plan for his life.

Romans 3:23

Law 3: Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for man’s sin. Through Him, you can know and experience God’s love and plan for your life.

John 14:6

Law 4: We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives.

Revelation 3:20

A Heart-to-Heart Prayer

If you or your parents have not accepted Jesus Christ, now is the time to have a frank conversation with God. If you are unsure how to pray for God’s salvation, a simple well-meaning prayer can be the best decision for both of your lives.

Dear God, I know I’m a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that you raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.” ³

If you have accepted Jesus Christ but your parents haven’t, now is the time to have a candid heart-to-heart with them.

Eight days before my father passed away, I had a candid heart-to-heart with him. He prayed a prayer akin to the prayer written above. As we sat on his couch at 5 am we quietly talked together and talked to God. Some may call this a deathbed conversion. No matter what it is called, my father accepted Jesus Christ and God used me to help him make the best decision of his life.

Caretaking means being responsible for various aspects of your parents’ life. As we face our parents’ sundown years, let’s do what we can to help them hold on to, delight in, and agree to take part in their spiritual life while at the same time progressing and preserving our own spiritual life.

Do You Fear Death?

Bible Verses: See above.


Dear heavenly Father, as I consider all the needs of my parents, let me be mindful of their whole being. I pray for their emotional, physical, social, and spiritual life. Make me aware of their needs. Let me offer my help. Give us both peace. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

God Bless,

Member Inspirational Writers Alive; Bible Gateway Blogger Grid Member

Edited by E. Johnson; Bible verses are taken from the NASB if not noted otherwise.

Works Cited/Bibliography

¹ Spirituality and Aging. http://www.nap411.com. Accessed 10 May 2017.

² Greene, Patti. Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer. Bloomington: WestBow, 2016. [Permission given from CRU for Have You Heard of the Four Spiritual Laws summary.]

³ Begin Your Journey to Peace. www.peacewithgod.net. Accessed 10 May 2017.

Coming Soon: Caregiving Part 6: How to Prepare, Embrace, and Survive the Final Moments

If you found this post helpful, please like/share it so others can get the benefit. Thanks. If you would like to receive email notifications of new posts or to receive monthly newsletters, please click here and scroll down on www.GreenePastures.org to subscribe.

Books by Patti Greene

Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

When You Don’t Understand, Faith Matters!

When You Don’t Understand, Faith Matters! / by Patti Greene, Greene Pastures by Patti [From Email notifications, click the title for best web viewing]

There is so much I don’t understand. Over the past few months, I have been making a list of things I don’t understand. These items just popped into my mind during my daily routine. I would think about them for a few second and then say, “that’s life,” and move on.

I have been languishing over this post. Not that it is complicated, but because what I want to share is so simple that I am afraid I will make it too complicated. Writers feel that way occasionally. The simple message is: When you don’t understand something, faith matters! Having FAITH that God knows what to share with us and what not to share with us is his prerogative. He has the exclusive right to enlighten us or not in both secular and spiritual matters. There will be things we will not understand ever! But, we can inquire of God. He listens to our pleas for understanding and direction. No matter what we do or do not understand, our hope is from him and we should trust in him at all times. He will sustain us. He has provided his Word to sustain us.

The natural man cannot accept the things of the Spirit, but when God’s spirit is within us, we can see and discern the mind of Christ, but there still may be some things we do not know and may never understand. This is where FAITH comes into play.

From a Human Perspective, I Do Not Understand

How new windmills work;

Why someone would want a pet pig;

Why someone would want a gold shirt that costs $250,000.00;

Why Justin Bieber quitting Instagram is news;

Why people use the words ‘over-exaggerated’ or ’embellished’ when they should use the word ‘lied’;

Why someone would want to buy a building that looks like a Longaberger basket;

How someone can make more money not working than working; and

How spell check could change my instant message from, “Get well my choo-choo boy” to “Get well my choice-chop boy.

From a Spiritual Perspective, I Do Not Understand

How bones are formed in the womb of a pregnant woman; (Ecclesiastes 11:5)

How God’s Holy Spirit can indwell us; (Titus 3:5)

Why Bible prophets hear from God with such accuracy; (Jeremiah 28:9)

How we can speak God’s wisdom; (Psalm 49:3)

How two can become one flesh; (Mark 10:8)

How God could say, “Let there be light, and there was light; (Genesis 1:3)

How Christ rose from the dead; (1 Corinthians 15:4)

It’s easy to overlook things we don’t understand in the secular realm, but it’s not so easy to overlook things we don’t understand in the spiritual realm without FAITH. Many people when evaluating or questioning the mysteries of God tend to feel they need absolute answers before moving on in their spiritual walk—Not so!

The New Testament book of Hebrews is a comprehensive discussion about FAITH.

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. (Hebrews 11:1 NLT)

By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. (Hebrews 11:3)

Men of FAITH include Abel, Abraham, Moses, the individuals who crossed the Red Sea, Gideon, Barak, Samson, and the prophets. By FAITH, they trusted God and obeyed him.

You may wonder if your child is really saved? You might wonder why his/her death was so sudden? You might wonder why you didn’t get accepted to the college of your choice? You may wonder why your business went bankrupt when you worked so hard. You might wonder how to proceed in your career. Instead of thinking we can’t move on in our Christian FAITH without knowing the answers or absolutes, we should act in FAITH because God always has our best interests in mind.

But how do we get more faith? We should ask God for it and talk to him about our questions and concerns. In addition, we should read and study the Scriptures to learn more about God’s nature and character. It is sad to see someone stifled in their Christian walk because they are hung up on one thing or another, one unanswered prayer, or one questionable doctrine. It is up to us to take the initiative and talk to God about these things and work things out under the umbrella of his love, his protection, and the supernatural leading of the Holy Spirit. Ask him for FAITH. Ask him why. Ask him how. Ask him. Ask him. Ask him.

God is the one who reveals his mysteries to us. It is totally up to him to reveal a matter to us. He can open our mind to understand the Scripture. He can (and will) provide wisdom and knowledge to us when we read the Bible. However, there are still things that God conceals—maybe until His timing—maybe until we are ready to absorb the truth—or maybe until we have enough FAITH to accept a matter. We can always call on our heavenly Father and ask him for the answers. That is perfectly acceptable, but it is still up to the Lord to choose if and when He will share his secrets and/or knowledge with us.

We will not understand everything in this life. We will not understand everything in the Bible either, but by prayer, Bible study, and growing closer to Jesus we will most likely find that we do possess more knowledge in the things of God than others. While God does choose to conceal some things to us, He does choose to share some secret things with us. And when that happens, we need to be discerning as to whom and if we share it with. We need FAITH to mature in Christ. God always knows the big picture. Praise God we have a God who cares about everything in our lives.

I hope the point I made at the beginning of this blog has made sense. It’s so simple, I am repeating part of the first paragraph. “When you don’t understand something, faith matters! Having FAITH that God knows what to share with us and what not to share with us is his prerogative. He has the exclusive right to enlighten us or not in both secular and spiritual matters.”

When we add FAITH to our ‘not understanding’, we eliminate confusion and have the opportunity to give full allegiance to the Lord’s will for ourselves.

God Bless,


Bible Verses:

Then Daniel went to his house and made the matter known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions might not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.  Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said:

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
    to whom belong wisdom and might.
 He changes times and seasons;
    he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to those who have understanding;
he reveals deep and hidden things;
    he knows what is in the darkness,
    and the light dwells with him.
 To you, O God of my fathers,
    I give thanks and praise,
for you have given me wisdom and might,
    and have now made known to me what we asked of you,
    for you have made known to us the king’s matter.” (Daniel 2:17-23)

If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all. (Isaiah 7:9b)

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. (Jeremiah 33:3)


Dear LORD, help me to understand you more and more every single day. Give me wisdom and understanding so I can fulfill your purposes in my life. Give me faith so I can have confidence in all you choose to reveal to me and those you don’t. My life is in your hands. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version containing the Old and New Testament. Wheaton: Crossway, 2001. [All verses come from the English Standard Bible unless noted otherwise]

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Peter: A hot-head

We all have different personalities. Most of our character traits and personality traits develop when we are in childhood or are given to us from the Lord for a purpose we may or may not see right now.Today, let’s take a look at Simon Peter, also known as Peter, in the New Testament. Peter was a fisherman who later became a disciple of Jesus. He is one of the twelve disciples chosen by Jesus.

Peter was a strong personality who, to outsiders and insiders, could appear inconsistent in his Christian walk. He could be a boastful, impetuous, impulsive hot-head at times. Some say he exhibited a lot of the characteristics of a person with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). In John 18:10, we see Peter’s impulsiveness when he quickly drew his sword and struck the high priest and cut off his right ear. In John 21:7 when Jesus appeared to his disciples after His resurrection, Peter heard another disciple say, “It is the Lord,” and immediately he threw off his outer garment stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. In Matthew 26:33, we see an example of his pride when he says to Jesus, “Though they all fall away because of you. I will never fall away.”

Throughout our Christian journey, we will experience ups and downs, passivity or assertiveness, or even denial as Peter did when he denied Jesus three times before the cock crowed. But note what Peter did as soon as he realized he denied his Lord. He wept bitterly and was so sorrowful he had hurt his Lord and discredited Jesus’ name. His sensitivity came out when he thought he had made a shipwreck of his life by dishonoring God. In 1 Timothy 1:10, Paul charges people to wage a good warfare saying “by rejecting this, some have made [a] shipwreck of their faith.”

But Peter changes. After Pentecost, in the Book of Acts, we see Peter becoming more steadfast. He is continuing to develop a Godly character. We find him not so self-centered or proud. We see him growing in his Christian faith. Sin can lead us to doubt God. But Peter is keeping his faith strong and learning from his experiences. He is growing and maturing in the Lord.

How can we follow Peter’s example in this area of faith when it is so easy to get discouraged when we don’t see answers or God’s directions fast enough? Romans 10:17 states, “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” We can put ourselves under the teaching of God’s word through preaching, personal Bible study, and Christian fellowship. Our faith does matter to God. And, even when we are faithless, remember that God does remain faithful [2 Timothy 2:13]. By becoming a life-long learner on the ways of God, our faith and trust in the Lord will grow. We will become more mature believers, and it will show in our lives through a deeper love for God and our fellow man.

Ah, but Peter matures a little more. He is now writing 1 and 2 Peter. It is hard to believe that this hot-headed disciple from the Gospels is now a great leader of love, humility, and respect for authority. He is now imparting wisdom to others teaching them how to:

–          Be born again to a living hope;

–          Be holy;

–          Be Godly husbands and wives;

–          Be stewards of God’s grace;

–          Be discerning of false prophets and teachers; and

–          How to live in the Last Days.
Peter’s life is an example of sanctification. Bible Study Tools says to, “sanctify someone or something is to set that person or thing apart for the use intended by its designer.” Our designer is the Almighty God. As believers, we are all somewhere along a timeline as we are being sanctified in the Lord. We may be in the hot-head stage, the maturing stage, or the imparting wisdom stage. But, wherever we are in our spiritual journey, the Lord desires our faithfulness. As Proverbs 3:3 says, “Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your heart, so you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.”

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